It started off with a social media furor.

One fifth grade girl pulled down another girl’s pants and underpants in front of a group of boys.

The victim’s parents have filed a lawsuit against the St. Clairsville school system for failing to institute policies that protect children.

According to Attorney Mark Kepple, the girl’s pants and underwear were pulled down to publicly embarrass her in front of a group of boys as a form of sexual bullying. He feels it was in retaliation because the victim wouldn’t take part in a “club” last year, in which several fourth grade girls allegedly performed sexual acts on each other at school in the restroom.

“These girls were apparently, not all of them, but a few of them were apparently putting their hands into each other’s pants and touching each other. So this is something that certainly the school should have discovered that this kind of thing was happening,” said Kepple.

Kepple filed the suit on Friday, saying a pervasive lack of supervision allowed this to happen.

He said it was known to school officials that one of the girls in the “club” had a trouble history and needed to be supervised at all times, even in the restroom.

“That wasn’t done here. It led to this happening. That’s what this lawsuit is about. Because we need to have something put in place to catch these kids and to help them. Not blame them. And not pretend like it doesn’t exist, because it does,” said Kepple.

The lawsuit asks for damages for the victim’s distress, and for the school district to develop a protocol to protect students in the future.

School officials say that they can’t discuss it because of the student’s age and confidentiality rules.

According to the school district’s attorney, Albert Davies, the so-called “pantsing” incident “was totally investigated, and discipline was imposed that was totally appropriate.”

Davies said the district puts safety first, unfortunately, kids don’t always follow the rules.

The lawsuit asks that the school immediately undertake a plan of improvement or cease operations.